Week 13 POT – Personal Learning Networks

First, for the presentation, I just hope I’ll be able to finish it in time!  Again, my topic is UD in Online Teaching, perhaps with an emphasis on how it helps second language learners.  There is so much I could say, so I am trying to limit to 3 – 5 things that can be done in an online environment to ensure that students having a wide range of needs can be accommodated and have the best chances at accessing the course content.  Maybe I’ll be able to work on this a bit tomorrow while the fam has a turkey hangover…

This week’s materials about blogging and sharing were impressive. Sharing is something that I certainly advocate and have done a lot of. As for personal or professional blogging, I imagine in a few years when my young kids are older, these would great activities for me to pursue, but as a fulltime instructor with two kids (aged 4 and 11), free time to do anything for myself beyond a shower and once in a while a walk around the block is virtually impossible unless I get up at 4 or 5 a.m., which I used to do – not to have time to myself but to check students’ work and prepare lessons!

It’s interesting to see, from the Alex Couros piece (2010), how terminology changes with the rapid pace of technological developments. For example, he referred to “reverse instruction,” which has since been termed “flipped learning.” Also, the speaker mentioned tagging of pictures. Has anyone heard of Face.com (recently acquired by Facebook)? You can snap a picture of someone, and the app will scan the Web and basically tell you who the person is. Some good potential uses (e.g., catching criminals), but in the hands of freaks, scary, in my opinion….

I really appreciate what he mentioned about intergenerational learning. For the past eight+ years I have had a student in my class who is now 92 years old. His English has fossilized, which means it has reach a level at which certain errors are cemented and he really cannot improve. It doesn’t really matter, though, since he has lived here in the U.S. since 1980 and communicate well enough all of his needs and engage in conversation. He follows me because I integrated technology a lot, especially for student projects, and he loves creating digital stories about Iranian folk tales. This has absolutely nothing to do with my course content a lot of the time, but teaching noncredit makes it OK, in my opinion. Although my patience is tried at times, he mentioned once that without my class, he would probably be dead. It gives him a reason to get up in the morning, and working with computers keeps him mentally active. He has gotten to the point that he can’t really follow much of what is happening in class, but you should see the pride on his face when he shares his digital stories with the class. His grandsons are now in college and were born here, so these pieces of work (which often include his artist daughter’s artwork incorporated to most of this projects) are artefacts he will leave behind to his family – something that would not exist had he not taken classes that incorporated technology by putting it in the hands of students. This is the first digital story he created, in 2009. Since then, the student has made at least 20 more.

…back to the Alex Couros presentation, Did the student trustee really say “University of Virgina”?!! or did I hear that wrong? (see video at 0:52 – 0:54). As for sharing oneself online, I don’t like to do too much of that, especially beyond some basic professional profile/info. I have had some very strange and unsettling experiences. That’s why I don’t do FB and tell students they can “friend” me on LinkedIn because with students from many different cultures, and me being a friendly approachable American, they want to be a social friend, but I want them to understand that our relationship is professional. I am sure that a lot of community college instructors feel differently and are “friends” with students, but I don’t want to confuse my students, many of whom are new to the American educational system and workplace.

The following are a few bits of my PLN:


LinkedIn, which I don’t use to its full potential

CALPRO Communities of Practice

People in my discipline (ESL) and others whom I follow

Larry Ferlazzo’s blog

Shelly Terrell on Pinterest

Nik Peachy’s Learning Tech Blog and QuickShout and Daily English Activities

Rushton Hurley’s Next Vista for Learning (video projects)

And this is My Presentations Wiki

  Finally, to finish this week’s post, I share the following article I recently received in my email, which I find interesting because we always say, “Those digital natives just ‘know’ how to do technology,” which the research cited in the article disproves: THE Journal Teachers Better at Using Tech than Digital Natives Some excerpts….

School-age students may be fluent in using entertainment or communication technologies, but they need guidance to learn how to use these technologies to solve sophisticated thinking problems.

The school setting is the only institution that might create the needs to shape and facilitate students’ technology experience. Once teachers introduce students to a new technology to support learning, they quickly learn how to use it.

…teacher age had no impact on the kinds of technology skills they have. The gap between them and their students lies with how little opportunity students get to practice technology beyond pursuing their personal interests.

In many ways…it is determined by the requirements teachers place on their students to make use of new technologies and the ways teachers integrate new technologies in their teaching.

The report recommends that “high-quality training” be provided to teachers to help them learn how to integrate content-specific technology into their lessons and how to teach their students how to use technology more effectively.


2 thoughts on “Week 13 POT – Personal Learning Networks

  1. Pingback: Week 14 POT – Presentation and Final Post | MCC ESL Buffet

  2. Pingback: POT Week 14 – This is the End | MCC ESL Buffet

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